Skip to content

Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics

So David Aaronovitch has found what he believes to be a statistic of dubious origin.  Congratulations David!  You’ve got your piece published on The Times website so good for you.  Haven’t you ever heard of the phrase “Lies, damn lies and statistics”?  You don’t have to go too far to find dodgy statistics.

The row over official knife crime statistics is very recent and a very relevant example.  I was going to cite a cricketing example but the news that the Sri Lankan team has been attacked by terrorists in Lahore should be the only cricketing story on peoples’ minds.  This is a sad day for Pakistan cricket in particular and for world cricket in general.

Back to David Aaronovitch.  What is David actually saying here?  Is he saying that the surveillance society that this country is becoming is not an issue?  If he is then I would beg to differ.  Is he saying that a lot of statistics are of questionable value?  That’s not exactly rocket science, is it?

Whatever he is saying, to belittle the issue of the surveillance society is playing into the hands of this Labour “government”.

I’m feeling shocked (see above) and cynical this morning.  I’m going to borrow a quote from the late Bill Hicks and tweak it so it is England-centric:

“Go back to bed, Britain.  Your government is in control again.  Here. Here’s Eastenders, Gladiators and Coronation Street.  Watch this, shut up.  Go back to bed, Britain.  Here is Eastenders, Gladiators and Coronation Street.  Here is 400 channels of rubbish!  Watch these poor one dimensional muppets and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, Britain!  You are free to do what we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!”

Is this where we’re going to end up?

I’m due to visit London very soon for an interview.  I’m going to try and count the number of CCTV cameras that see me during my day in London.  Now it may be that I won’t actually see all of the cameras so I’m going to write to the owners of the places I will be going through and ask them if they can confirm how many CCTV cameras I would have been monitored by.  Naive? Possibly.  Accurate?  Well I won’t be taking photos of every CCTV camera I see because spending time being searched by twitchy members of Her Majesty’s constabulary won’t help me get to the interview but it will be based on what I see and what information the places I visit during the day are kind enough to give me.

I don’t know how many cameras will catch sight of me during this trip.  I will also try and work out how many CCTV cameras caught sight of me during trips to work when I was living in the Midlands.

The results will be posted here.

Do you know how many CCTV cameras catch sight of you during your average workday?

Does David Aaronovitch?

I’ll leave you with a quote from “Burst The Bubble” by Company Of Snakes (featuring the classic Whitesnake guys Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Neil Murray)

“CCTV and MI5 and all points in between.  They aren’t keeping your house safe, they’re just spying by degrees.  There’s an eye in the sky and it’s looking straight at you.  If you don’t keep your copy clean your dirty laundry’s news”

Published inCCTVgovernmentjournalismPoliticsprivacysurveillance state